Horrible or not, she put it aside and went back to the letters. In the earlier ones there were many allusions which seemed almost to belong to a former existence, so utterly had her life changed since they were written. The bright days of last summer, before the first cloud came over her fortunes, seemed to return almost too vividly to her memory; she would have bargained away a year of her life to be able to regain the simple happiness of that time. It could never be done; she had suffered, and had done some good and much evil; the past was ended and put away for ever; she could not, for all she might give, again set herself
the same key
Of the remembered harmony.”
She closed the last letter of the little pile and put them carefully away. Already they seemed to her one of her most valuable possessions.
Mrs. Costello had finished writing to her cousin. She was busy with Murray and a map of France; and when Lucia came back she called her.
“Come here, I have half decided.”
“Yes, mamma. Where is it?”
“Of course, I cannot be sure. I must make some inquiries; but I think this will do—Bourg-Cailloux.”
Lucia looked where her mother’s finger pointed on the map.
“Is it a seaport?” she asked.
“Yes, with steamers sailing direct to England.”
“But in that case, will it not be in the way of tourists?”
“I suspect not; I have looked what Murray says, and it is so little that it is pretty evident it is not much visited by the people who follow his guidance. Besides, I do not see what attraction the place can have except just the sea. It is an old fortified town, with a market and considerable maritime trade—sends supplies of various kinds to London, and has handsome docks; from all which I conclude that business, and not pleasure, is the thing which takes people there.”
“Could you bear a noisy, busy town?”
“After this I do not think we need fear the noise of any provincial town. In a very quiet place we should not have the direct communication with England, which is an object with me.”
“But, mamma, what need——?”
“Every need, for your sake as well as my own. We must be where, in case of emergency, you could quickly have help from England.”
Lucia trembled at her mother’s words. She dared not disregard them after what had lately happened, but she could not discuss this aspect of the question.